Jun 052014
 

So Senior Week and Graduation are finally upon us here in Hanover.  I wish I could give you some dazzling, worldly advice, but I can’t come up with much that hasn’t already been said.  I guess all I’ve got is

1.  Don’t be evil.

2.  They’re spelled ‘Novack’ and ‘Occom’, not ‘Novak’ and ‘Occum’.

A lot of my first couple years here was spent trying to be the kind of person who would be able to give advice once I graduated.  I saw the ’11s and the ’12s and the incredible things they brought to this school, and wanted to be exactly like them.  I joined a ton of clubs, took hard classes, had countless auditions and interviews, wrote a questionably-articulate admissions blog, and realized that I wasn’t very good at most of the things I did.  I got rejected from a lot of things, and was mediocre at the ones I did.  When I became social chair of my fraternity, I took the ego gratification of a executive position over the moral gratification of doing something I actually cared about, and I was miserable.  I’d finally found the one thing I was good at, and I hated it.
It was a weird experience, but as I’ve probably mentioned before, the friends I made and the skills I gained along the way made it worth it.  Sometimes, it really is the side effects that save us.  Dartmouth has been nothing if not humbling, and at this point, I don’t feel like I can say anything that wouldn’t be more meaningful if you learned it on your own.
(Though I will reiterate that both evil and misspellings are generally frowned upon at this institution.  Just a heads-up.)

Anyway, I’ll be back here in the fall for the fifth year of the engineering program, but I’m still saying goodbye to a lot of things.  A lot of my friends, a lot of my extracurriculars, this blog.  I’m passing on a lot of institutional memory to the younger members of the clubs I do.  (GET IT??  THE TITLE IS TOTALLY A PUN!!)  It took four years of humbling myself and learning from people who were actually passionate and good at things, instead of blindly trying to one-up them, but now maybe I am a little bit relevant.

In keeping with that theme, I’ll be helping organize Orientation in the fall, so i’ll probably meet you then.  Enjoy your summers, enjoy Trips, and, as always, blitz me if you have any questions whatsoever.  stefan.j.deutsch.14@dartmouth.edu

See you in the fall,

Your vox clamantis interneto

May 222014
 

It’s been a pretty hectic couple of weeks, which is interesting because I’ve had a lot to write about but very little time in which to write it.  Accordingly, this’ll probably end up as kind of a double post.

You’ll probably hear a lot about Green Key from any current student, but very little in the way of an explanation.  I’m not going to break with that trend here, Green Key is hard to describe, but easy to experience.  Pretty much anywhere you go on campus, you’re bound to find some sort of celebration or adventure or diversion from the usual rhythm of college life.  This year, we had performances from Lupe Fiasco, the Chainsmokers, and a ton of local and regional touring bands which meant that there was music happening somewhere on campus pretty much continuously for the entire weekend.  Even my old roommate decided to get in on the action and presented his senior piano recital on Saturday afternoon.  The music, combined with the fact that President Hanlon must have finally found Jim Kim’s weather machine and kept the weather sunny despite the forecast, made for a phenomenal weekend to be outside.  (Seriously though, it’s always good weather here when it needs to be:  Green Key, Homecoming Bonfire, Dimensions… except for Fieldstock my sophomore summer. We don’t talk about that.)

I might have tried to take advantage of the outdoors a little too much and ended up in the ER after taking a Frisbee to the face, but I got ice cream after my stitches so I guess that worked out ok.

Note, this is a size small cone at ‘Ice Cream Fore U’ in West Lebanon. For obvious reasons, I highly recommend it.

It’s weird how the term seems to be wrapping up already.  My friends are presenting their theses, we’re getting Commencement instructions in the mail, and I’m booking flights for my research job at Case Western this summer.  I just finished the last paper for my architecture class, which will probably be the last non-engineering paper of my life.  Around this time four years ago, I was researching dorms online, so I guess it’s appropriate that I finish by researching Dartmouth dorms again for a paper on the design of the Choates.  While I was writing, I got sidetracked and ended up reading the Wikipedia article on all the buildings at Dartmouth.  I hadn’t even heard of a pretty big chunk of them.  After four years here, I still have places left to explore.  I’ve been trying to check all of them out without being egregiously creepy.  Of course, most of them are just classrooms and offices.  I probably should have expected that.  There have been some gems though:  crazy artwork, underground tunnels, that greenhouse on top of the biology building.  I found a secret society house while attempting to chase a rogue moose.  Heck, I found the secret hiding place of the Keggy the Keg suit once, but got sworn to secrecy.  Even if it isn’t Green Key, the possibilities on this campus are hard to describe, but easy to experience.

I’m still kind of holding out and looking for some sort of Harry Potter-esque Room of Requirement, but it’s probably not going to happen.  Then again, I would never have been able to tell the story of climbing on to the roof of my high school if the seniors hadn’t told me there was a pool up there.  So yeah, there’s a pool on the roof.

May 062014
 

If you’re one of the 55% or so of prospies who chose Dartmouth this past week, congratulations!  At least in my opinion, you made the right call.
You’ll hear a lot about the Dartmouth Experience in your next four years.  A lot of it will be true for you, a lot of it won’t.  A lot of people will tell you it doesn’t exist, which is to some extent accurate.  There’s no singular Dartmouth experience, everyone takes different paths in some way or another.  Some of the people who would look the same as me on paper (same house, same major, same extracurriculars) have been the most different from me.  I guess statistics can lie in that way.  It’s never a good idea to break a person down to a couple numbers and descriptors.
That said, I like statistics.  They can tell you a lot.  And I guess they’d lead me to say that even though there’s no one ‘Dartmouth Experience’, you’ll share a lot of memories with the rest of the ’18s.  In all honesty, you’re gonna do a lot of the same stuff.  Statistically, around 95% of you will go on First-Year Trips.  Statistically, most of those people will remember it four years later.

No matter how many times they’ll try to forget….

A lot of you will probably run around the bonfire.  You’ll eat in Foco.  You’ll have a snowball fight.  You’ll try to get a job.  You’ll go to the river.  Probably.  You can’t say any of these with certainty, but they’re pretty likely.
Some of them are more interesting.  You’ll learn things.  You’ll create things.  You’ll make mistakes.  You’ll make decisions.  Big decisions!  Bad decisions!  You’ll critically reexamine your principles.  Or at least you should.

Anyway, what’s great about the Dartmouth Experience is that it gives you the leeway and the ability to make your own experience, but still have enough in common with your classmates that you can connect with any given person on campus.  You establish your own identity, instead taking a pre-existing one.  And that’s at least 150% cooler than anything else I can think of.

On another note, apparently none of the other bloggers have posted this yet.  Check it out.

 

Apr 302014
 
Baker Library, Rauner Special Collections Library, Sanborn Library

Baker Library, Rauner Special Collections Library, Sanborn Library, Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69

The Library; the heart of any college campus. At Dartmouth, a place where students chat, study, grab coffee, cut through for warmth when it’s cold, and sometimes spend very late nights. The Dartmouth College Library is also a center for building knowledge, discovery, and creativity as students have access to over 2.5 million books and hundreds of thousands of digital resources among other items. Dartmouth has a total of nine libraries on campus, each offering unique services and resources to students of any year or major. During orientation week in September, you can learn all there is to know about the libraries on campus at the Library Open House, but until then, here are some of the best things about our libraries…

1)      Open Stacks System in Baker-Berry, our main library: An open stacks system means students can walk through our stacks and freely browse the collection for any book they may need at any time during the library’s open hours.

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Student browsing through the stacks at Baker-Berry, Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69

2)      Borrow Direct: Borrow Direct is a rapid book request and delivery system among eight colleges in the North East. By this system, Dartmouth students have access to the combined

library catalogs of Dartmouth, Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, UChicago, UPenn, Princeton and Yale, providing us with an outstanding number of resources for research.

3)      Rauner Special Collections Library: Rauner holds some of the oldest, coolest, and most bizarre things you have ever seen. Rauner holds extensive rare book, manuscript, and archival collections among which are Shakespeare’s First Folio and dozens of elaborate and beautiful copies of the medieval Book of Hours. Rauner also holds originals of our school paper The Dartmouth from its beginning as well as of The Aegis, our award-winning yearbook.

Selection of old rare books from Rauner, Photo by Joseph Mehling '69

Selection of old and rare books from Rauner, Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69

4)      Jones Media Center: Our media library provides the tools and software for media projects and among thousands of digital resources, holds copies of 7,500 DVDs that you can check out whenever and hold a movie night with your friends, or just with a bag of popcorn.

5)      King Arthur Flour: Which we affectionately refer to as “KAF,” the best place to grab a coffee or delicious baked good as a study pick-me-up or just because. KAF is located in the lobby of Baker-Berry and is a student favorite for their baked goods and delicious brie-and-apple and roast beef sandwiches.

Students in line at  KAF, Photo by Joseph Mehling '69

Students in line at KAF, Photo by Joseph Mehling ’69

These highlights are only a few among so much more, and with the support of extremely knowledgeable and helpful librarians and library staff, the Dartmouth College Libraries  provide a comfortable and dynamic environment where caffeine quotas are filled and inspiration is born. We can’t wait to meet all you new ’18s in September during the open house! For more on the libraries, check out our website at library.dartmouth.edu

Apr 212014
 

Hey all,
So it’s been a while since my last post and it’s all because of how busy this term has been, but also because of how much fun the Spring that everyone is always outside enjoying the warmth on the Green and in town!

A few weekends ago, I got to attend a bioethics bowl in Chicago, along with three other Dartmouth students. We had prepared for this conference for a few weeks, over spring break, and then headed to Chicago with our cases prepared and ready for debate. Bioethics is an event that happens under the Ethics Institute, which also organizes a lot of cool events and offers an ethics minor (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~ethics/). It was a very great learning experience, and being there with many other students from other schools was great fun, too. It’s definitely nice to represent D away at a conference and to get to know fellow students. Finally, a picture of the team in the Windy City is attached.

Happy Spring!

bioethics1

Apr 212014
 

One of my favorite things about Dartmouth was that I woke up every day thinking that anything could happen before I went to bed that night.  To some extent, that’s still true.  You never know what random interaction is going to lead to a lifelong friendship or what split-second decision is going to lead to the discovery of a new passion.  That said, for the past couple terms, I egregiously overscheduled myself (it’ll happen to you) and my days got a lot more structured.  Not that structure is inherently bad, but I lost the excitement that came with every morning.  Now that I have some more free time, I’ve been trying to recapture that excitement.  It’s been harder than expected though.  People look at you funny when you’re a senior and you ask them “So, what do people do for fun around here?”  Now that I’ve found a place or an identity or whatever, I feel a bit more constrained when I figure out what I’m going to do on a given day.

Which is why we have bucket lists!  Ideas on how to break out of my comfort zone in a convenient list format!  You’ll probably get one freshman year with typical stuff like ‘run around the bonfire’ or ‘have a snowball fight.’  I’ve done 75 or so of the 101, and since it’s an old list, a lot of the rest aren’t really feasible (RIP Lone Pine Tavern).  However, there are still a few that I haven’t done yet, which kind of surprised me.  I’ve never gotten tea in Sanborn, I’ve never gone to open hours at the observatory, I’ve never climbed the Gile Mountain fire tower, and the list goes on.  There might be reasons I haven’t done these yet, (namely that I don’t like tea, I think stargazing is kinda boring, and I’m terrified of heights) but breaking out of my comfort zone might be the point of the list.

Besides, I don’t think that just halfheartedly checking things off the list is really the point.  Remember that movie ‘The Bucket List’ where Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson do all that cool stuff before they die?

Bucket_list_poster

They enjoyed all the stuff on the bucket lists that they did, but the real point was all the relationships they formed and mended as they were trying to finish their lists were what mattered.  I think that’s why I want to finish my bucket list before the term ends, not entirely because I really want to do stuff that some admissions employee thought constituted the ‘Dartmouth experience’ but because maybe those things will lead me toward my own Dartmouth experience somewhere along the way.

 

 

Lastly, I’M SO HAPPY THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY READ THIS.  THOUGH IT DOES ADD A BIT OF EXTRA PRESSURE WHEN I’M TRYING TO WRITE.  Anyway, feel free to email me at sjd@dartmouth.edu with questions, concerns, Sporcle challenges, or if you want to meet up at Dimensions (5 days away ahhhh!)

Apr 152014
 

In high school, I heard a lot about how nobody really stays involved in religious life when they get to college, and I got a bit worried.  I had been pretty involved in church groups growing up, and I didn’t want to lose that aspect of my life or that sense of community.  As it turns out, there  is ample opportunity to get involved in religious and spiritual life at Dartmouth, and it has been more rewarding than I could have imagined.

In my last post, I mentioned an Alternative Spring Break Trip.  These are programs, now common at many universities, where instead of travelling somewhere different to party on the beach, students travel somewhere different to do community service.  I had no idea that this program existed until I went to an informational meeting freshman fall while trying to impress a girl or something.  I left the meeting with a stack of forms and a vague interest that this might be an interesting way to spend a week.  I ended up applying to an interfaith service trip, “working to serve the homeless population in the San Francisco Bay area and exploring service as a shared value across religious and cultural lines.”  Helped along by my half-Christian, half-Jewish family (I remember describing myself as “a walking interfaith dialogue”), I was accepted to the program and met the rest of the group.

 

Coming from a pretty homogenous part of the country, it was an eye-opening experience to be able to share experiences and perspectives with such a culturally and religiously diverse group of people while working together with them for a good cause.  I learned a ton about other people’s spiritualities and was able to redefine my own beliefs.  When I got back to campus, I joined the Multi-Faith Conversations discussion group, which brought the same discussions back to campus, and I’ve been coming to meetings ever since.

There’s an amazing degree of religious openness here, which you might not expect from a place with so many educated and opinionated people.  So many people are still looking and searching, trying to redefine what they believe or just trying to understand their friends on a deeper level.  Sometimes, like in my house’s Passover Seder today, they’re just looking to partake an interesting slice of cultural heritage.

 

Besides, Manischewitz tastes just like Communion wine.

Mar 282014
 

First and foremost, congratulations to the Dartmouth Class of 2018!  Your hard work has paid off and we couldn’t be any more proud of you.  Even though you’re objectively the worst class ever, we’re pretty impressed.

It’s gonna be hard to say something that the rest of the bloggers haven’t already covered, so I’ll keep this brief.  Dartmouth is real, it’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s happy, free, confused, and lonely in the best way.  And you’re gonna rock it.

Taylor Swift did not go to Dartmouth, but she probably would have written some good songs about it.

Due to a combination of factors (impending graduation, fundraising for the senior class gift, writing this blog post, watching “Garden State”) I’ve been pretty nostalgic lately.  And I couldn’t be happier about that.  I’ve made memories strong enough to last me until now.  I have something that makes it hard to say goodbye.  So I guess that’s the best advice I can give you – spend the rest of high school making some memories that will make it hard to say goodbye (or at least give you good stories when you get to college).

South Park describes my life disconcertingly well.

You’re on the verge of one of the biggest steps in your life – enjoy it.  Seriously, don’t overthink it.  Do what feels right when you’re making your college pick.  You’ll be ok.

One of my favorite parts of “Garden State” is when Natalie Portman tells Zach Braff that he needs to do something ridiculous because “…this is your one opportunity to do something that no one has ever done before and that no one will copy throughout human existence. And if nothing else, you will be remembered as the one guy who ever did this…”  Nobody else is going to take the same path through Dartmouth that you do, so all you can do is make it count.  Of course, don’t worry too much about making yourself unique, you already will be.  The biggest realization I had during my freshman year was that I spent so much time trying to figure out who I wanted to be that I forgot to be myself.  (It was also the most cliche moment of my life.)

Anyway, congratulations again.  Enjoy senior spring.  Come to Dimensions.  I’ll get a meal with you.  I’m not kidding, email me at sjd@dartmouth.edu and say you read this on my admissions blog.  I will be so happy that people actually read this that I’ll probably buy you a cookie or something.  Most of all, welcome home.

Mar 132014
 

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Just as the weather was warming up a little here in Hanover, a blizzard hit and rendered Dartmouth Winter W onderland again. Say what you will about the cold, but snow- in good times- can mean adventure.

I say good times because the academic term just ended, and the snow storm hit while I was leaving my last final for the term.

Finals are stressful anywhere I suppose, but perhaps more so here because the terms are only 10 weeks long and it always feels like there isn’t enough time to study. That said, a lot gets done to ensure that you don’t get too over your head; study groups, study breaks, and q and a sessions are organized by various offices… My chem prof got us clementines during our chem final- so we won’t “get vitamin c deficiency in case we get stranded in the classroom!”.
In any case, back to my earlier point, being done with finals feels great! And then when the storm started, a few friends who were also done with finals and I headed over to the BEMA and then the golf course to sled. Super cold, snow was too thick, but was so great to be able to go outside and enjoy the nature that the Dartmouth campus offers.

Next post will be about spring term! They go by so fast :(

 

20140308_101537

Mar 102014
 

Winter term is finally coming to a close in Hanover, which means some pretty big changes in my life.  We finished our capstone design project (and it mostly worked!), so we’re anxiously waiting on the review board of professors and professional engineers to decide our fates.  I’m ending my tenure as social chair of my fraternity, which took up a significant portion of my time over the past year.  Even though it was frequently stressful and constantly frustrating, I definitely grew as a leader and learned a lot of real-world skills I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise.  The club running team will be gearing up for our spring racing season, and I’ll personally be preparing to tackle my first marathon over Memorial Day weekend.  The days will get warmer, leaves will return to the trees, and the melting snow will combine with the nostalgic tears of the last-term seniors to reduce every non-paved surface to mush.

Of course, between spring term and now comes spring break in all its glory.  I’ll be travelling to Georgia with the ultimate frisbee team for a week – camping out,  practicing, playing in tournaments, and getting to know the team better.  It’s an important tradition to the team, and definitely one that the rest of campus has heard about.  This trip is really everything a spring break trip should be:  road trip singalongs and spur of the moment detours, late-night swims and early morning jogs, new friends and old.  Also fake moustaches and dyed hair.

I for one think that we are an upstanding group of gentlemen.

I for one think that we are an upstanding group of gentlemen.

Now that I’ve gone and made myself all daydreamy, I need to get back to studying.  One exam and one paper stand between me and Georgia.  And a thousand or so miles.  But really, that’s the fun part.